September 30, 2022
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA
Tech

Give Fitbits (of Sorts) to the Trees

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You can see See a tree swaying in the wind and the botanical serenity – a hypnotic life interacting with the wind. Scientists also appreciate this, but they also see something else: dynamic data. The way a tree moves shows that it has a lot to say about its biology, local hydrology, and extensively its landscape. And the best way to measure a tree swing is to attach a fitness tracker to its trunk with waterproof duct tape.

Okay, a kind of fitness tracker স্ব measured self for plants. Using an off-the-shelf accelerometer, researchers have been measuring how trees tend to sway differently over time: when they are warm or cold, hydrated or dehydrated, loaded or unloaded by snow. “I would call it a fitbit for trees,” said Deidre Jagger, an urban environmentalist at Boulder University in Colorado who uses an accelerometer to study trees. “It’s a high-resolution monitor of tree activity, just like we humans have a high-resolution monitor of our activity that tells our metrics how much energy we’re burning? How much sleep have we had?”

One thing researchers really want to monitor is how much water the trees are capturing. Measuring precipitation, as it turns out, is not as easy as tracking how much water falls from the sky and gets wet as a liquid or becomes part of a snowpack. The trees actually “block” most of it, collecting rain and snow in their tents. In fact, depending on the type of forest, up to half of the snow is stuck in the tent. This means it sits there, bakes in the sun and evaporates most of that water – taking away the underlying environment of moisture. On the other hand, the snow that reaches the forest floor will be shady, which slows down its melting.

Forest hydrology models struggle with this complexity. But with the help of an accelerometer, scientists have a new way of measuring how much rain or snow a certain tree in a forest blocks. “The big question is how much of this actually falls to the ground,” said Mark Riley, a hydrologist at Oregon State University. “We can measure after it falls to the ground, but there is a lot of interest in how we can do that Prophecy That is, especially if you are trying to figure out how to manage a forest for water resources. “

Raleigh’s own experiments began in 2014, when his team entered a Colorado forest and found two trees next to a tower that were already collecting data for other scientific projects. They seal the accelerometer in a plastic bag and tape it to the tree. Devices like your Fitbit, Apple Watch or smartphone can measure minute movement, in this case a unique oscillating pattern that indicates how much the tent is covered by snow.

The researchers took these measurements 12 times a second for six years, giving a very detailed set of data on how the two trees were moved. “When they are activated by wind motion, they are basically swaying,” said Raleigh, lead author of a recent study describing the work in the journal. Water Resources Research. “The frequency at which a tree shakes depends not only on its mass, but also on how rigid the tree is.”

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